Disappointing news from the official spokesman for Truss “Liz has not been approached about appearing on the next series of ‘I’m A Celebrity…’, and even if she were approached, the answer would still be a firm no.” Shame.
A brutal showing for Minister-turned-showbiz star Matt Hancock this morning. It turns out the “substantial” charitable donation from his jungle fee was £10,000 – or rather, 3% of the cool £330,000 sum. Good Morning Britain hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley didn’t let him off lightly. Always difficult to say you didn’t eat testicles for the money… and then keep 97% of the money:
“The primary reason is because I have… I developed over the pandemic, over lockdown, and over my resignation, […] a very public figure. And I felt that what the public knew about me was through a particular lens, you know, through coming on this programme and Piers Morgan shouting monologues at me for over 20 minutes… it was totally ridiculous.”
“I didn’t primarily do it for the money, I primarily did it to try to show who I really am… and I gave a five-figure sum to charity…”
Of course, Hancock is free to do with his money as he pleases. Most people would gladly take the cash for chewing on a kangaroo’s anus. Although clearly definitions of “substantial” donations vary…
Now that the dust has settled on Matt Hancock’s jungle romp, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden has written to ACoBA Chair Lord Pickles to offer the final word on the former Health Secretary’s testicle-eating rule-breaking. In a new letter published last night, Dowden agreed that Hancock had breached Business Appointment Rules by “failing to seek the Committee’s advice” before jetting off to Australia:
I agree that undertaking a series of short-term appearances on the assumption they constitute ‘one-off’ engagements should not be used as means of not complying with the Rules. It is vital that all individuals who have held Ministerial positions are seen to abide by the requirement to seek advice about any appointments or employment they wish to take up within two years of leaving office.
He did, however, add that Matt’s newfound celebrity was a low-risk gig, so similar applications to the Committee in future should be “streamlined“. Good news for any other MPs who fancy bathing in cockroaches. He signed off by saying Hancock had suffered enough, and no further punishment would be necessary…
“Due to the highly visible nature of the roles and minimal risks to the integrity of government, we agree with the Committee’s advice that further action would be disproportionate in this case.”
Hancock’s spokesperson said:
“Matt’s glad they are now changing the ACOBA rules after the total muddle they got themselves into. Matt clearly followed the rules when he went into the jungle, as any cursory glance at their website demonstrates. The idea there’s a business conflict going onto the programme is absurd. Now they’re updating the rules to make that completely clear, not a moment too soon.”
Just in time for SAS: Who Dares Wins…
Read Dowden’s full letter below:
As new instances of the strife inside the Conservative party come to light on a near-daily basis, Anthony Mangnall has joined the frontlines of Tory warfare. The MP was speaking at a fundraiser in the exclusive Cavalry club in Mayfair, with William Hague as the main guest. In his remarks Mangnall made reference to Matt Hancock’s time in the jungle – reusing his old material from PMQs.
He then moved on to suggest other TV programmes where his colleagues might appear. For Kwasi Kwarteng he proposed Homes Under the Hammer – “given he has done so much damage to the housing market”. Jacob Rees-Mogg was assigned Antiques Roadshow. And for Liz Truss… Pointless.
Hancock’s book on the pandemic is already a best seller on Amazon after his nightly appearances on I’m a Celebrity. Guido can reveal that Hancock has sold story serialisation to the Mail, for a price that would make you choke more than eating a cow’s anus…
UPDATE: An ally of Matt Hancock tells Guido:
“Matt will, of course, declare the amount he receives to ensure complete transparency, as normal.”
Matt Hancock left the jungle in third place last night, having been defeated by Owen Warner from Hollyoaks and by the ultimate victor, Lioness Jill Scott. The former Health Secretary had one last opportunity to get stuck in when he was submerged for 10 minutes in the company of eels, yabbies, water spiders and sociable toads. After a slap-up, three-course meal Hancock was evicted after 21 days in the jungle. Reunited with Gina Coladangelo on the rope bridge, he recreated the excruciating embrace we’re all familiar with…
This morning, his team is having to firefight allegations from The Sun that he’s planning on leaving politics to pursue celebritydom. The paper’s morning splash reports that Gina contacted “PR pal Mayah Riaz” last week to discuss “a change of career for him… They’re aware they need to act fast and capitalise on the huge interest in him post-jungle.” In response his team shot out a denial:
A spokesperson for Matt Hancock said: Matt has no intention of standing down or stepping away from politics and there has been no conversation with Mayah Riaz or any other PR.
They added: “Gina hasn’t even heard of Mayah Riaz”.
For good measure, Guido asked his office if they could provide a precise date when he’d be back. Apparently, it’s up in the air at the moment. Though his dyslexia bill – of which he made no mention during his stint in the jungle – is up for its second reading on Friday…